The NHL Cheat sheet is your nightly look at some key matchups, fantasy studs, value plays, and important fantasy news and notes for the upcoming slate.
Highest Vegas Totals and Biggest Favorite
Biggest Favorite: The New York Rangers are -230 favorites to beat the Maple Leafs
Largest Totals: There are a few 5.5 totals on the night: Capitals v Blue Jackets, Bruins v Panthers and Senators v Red Wings
Goalies to avoid opposing skaters against
Roberto Luongo ($7600): Luongo is having a monster start to the season and is a big reason behind Florida’s success. Thus far on the season Luongo has posted a save percentage of just under .940 and a GAA of just over 2.00, great numbers. Tonight he has a matchup with the recently hot Bruins who are playing well, but aren’t a team I’d target for skaters tonight. Luongo is playing too well and the chances of him allowing more than a couple goals right now seems like a long shot. Avoid playing against him tonight.
Goalies to target opposing skaters against
Joni Ortio ($6100): The Flames have had huge issues keeping the puck out of their own net so far in 2015. Their goalies have been so bad that tonight they are starting third-string net-minder Joni Ortio, whom the Flames kept on the roster to start the season so as to avoid losing him on waivers. Ortio played admirably in his first start of the year but was ultimately burned for 4 goals and saw a ton of shots as the Flames defense leaves a lot to be desired at the moment. In a tough matchup against the Canadians (who will be fuming after letting a 3 goal slip away last night) I like targeting skaters a lot against Ortio.
Evgeny Kuznetsov ($5600) – Alex Ovechkin ($9200) – TJ Oshie ($6000)
The Washington top line has been on fire lately. Evgeny Kuznetsov has thrived this year in his top 6 role and now has an absurd 10 points in his last 4 games, while this trio is up to 18 points in that same span. I love the fact this line is getting by far the most even strength minutes for Washington (25% of all the ice over 3 games) and also all sees a ton of PP time. This is probably the hottest line in hockey right now and they have been dominating weaker competition. Tonight, versus the helpless Blue Jackets things should continue to keep rolling for the trio, target them everywhere.
Top Upside and Top Value at Defense
Andrei Markov ($4700): Markov has a fantastic matchup tonight against the struggling Flames and at $4700 is once again priced way below other elite options on D. Markov is an integral part of the Canadians team and beside his involvement on the Power play also sees time killing penalties which is good for his blocked shots totals. There’s few defensemen who are as integral to their team as Markov, and at his reduced price he has as much upside as anyone tonight.
Ryan Murray ($3100): Even on a bad team, getting a nice offensive defensemen who plays a lot of minutes and quarterback’s the power play is a great deal at only $3100. That is exactly what you’re getting with Murray who is currently Columbus’ main offensive threat on D and is priced far too affordably on DraftKings. Murray’s really picked it up of late as well with a goal and two assists in his last three games. He’s almost always going to have a chance at least a few shots on goal and an assist given his role on the team and he offers a ton of roster flexibility. A great way to save and pay up at other positions.
Best Superstar to Build Lineups Around
Claude Giroux ($6800): There’s a few different options for this category tonight but for sheer value and upside I think Giroux might be the best all-around option. The Flyers get the Sabres who have allowed at least 4 goals against in their last 4 games and are starting to see the cracks form in a very shaky goaltending duo. Giroux and the Flyers aren’t exactly an elite team but their forward pool still has talent and Giroux is still the main cog on their PP. I love this spot for a multi-point effort from Giroux and think he’s super affordable at his price. Play him tonight with confidence.
Best Value Plays to Fill out your lineup with
Alex Galchenyuk ($4600): Galchenyuk has been a bit of a spotty producer for the Canadians but tonight gets a great matchup versus the Flames. Entrenched as the Habs second line centre, Galchenyuk will avoid Sean Monahan and the Flames top line for the most part and should see a lot of softer minutes against the Flames second and third pairing on D too. This is great news as the Flames defensive core have been mostly under-performing all season. Don’t be shocked if he’s a big part of the offense in this game, at $4600 he’s great value.
Victor Rask ($4200): Rask is getting a chance to play on the Hurricanes top scoring line with Eric Staal at the moment and gets a nice matchup against the Avalanche who aren’t the toughest team defensively speaking. I really like the fact that Rask is shooting a lot of late and is also a main fixture on the Canes PP where the Canes have employed him on the point (also helpful for his SOG totals). Rask is a sneaky under the radar value play in my opinion, in a game which also has some sneaky upside for fantasy points.
1) Alex Barkov is out with a broken hand and this opens up more minutes for Nick Bjugstad
2) Duncan Keith is out indefinitely
As always hit me up on Twitter as @thefantasygrind with lineup questions or other DFS questions!